Valentine’s DAY is a time when we cherish our loved ones and shower them with extra attention. Chocolate hearts, roses, and greeting cards are everywhere, and although we may not count the ways we show our love, most of us go the extra mile to find ways to show that love. Then life gets busy again, and we forget that EVERY day can be the best day. Wouldn’t it be great if we had Valentine’s Day attitude EVERY day? Our dogs have that attitude. Their lives are not as cluttered as humans. They don’t fret over yesterday, or worry about tomorrow. They live in the now and are always eager, optimistic and willing to forgive. They cope; they adapt; they have no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. They embrace EVERY day, assuming that something wonderful is going to happen, a reminder that happiness can be shared any time!
Way back in 1845, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote the well known sonnet, “How Do I Love Thee?”: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. I love thee freely. I love the purely. I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life.
Our canine companions may not count the ways they love us, but they show it: freely, purely, unconditionally, EVERY day. They truly are our best friends and there are many ways by which we can be their best friends:
- Reward good behavior: whether human or canine, we all like to be recognized for good behavior. Good caregivers have good dogs, so it is important to make sure the rules are understood before you scold for inappropriate actions.
- Walking your dog is more than just letting him “do his business”—it is a great time for socializing, bonding, exercise, and training.
- Schedule play time with your dog. Play her favorite game, or get together with friends for a doggy-play date. She will appreciate the extra attention and you will help develop her socialization skills.
- There are many dogs in shelters, just waiting for a new, loving forever home…and if you can’t adopt one, call your local group and ask how you can help make life better for the canine residents.
Butterfly Katz wrote this poem to motivate people toward more loving, compassionate living with both humans and canines, and we share it with you:
My Love Should Be More Dog-Like
Whenever I need a liitle love, my dog is faithfully there.
Dogs exemplify a great willingness to give and share.
They inspire us to go for walks, to play, to even run.
A dog’s love is comforting, and makes life much more fun.
A dog is willing to do anything…at any hour of the day,
And seems to understand every word that you might say.
Within a dog’s warm welcome, unconditional love is understood.
Their eyes reveal honesty, and a heart that’s pure and good.
A dog’s love offers a calming, therapeutic feeling ;
A dog’s presence is a wonderful way of healing.
The bond my dog and I share has helped my soul to grow.
My love should be more dog-like…I will strive to make it so.
My dog gives love, without any prejudice, without judging my ways.
And challenges me to be grateful throughout my days.
She teaches lessons on loyalty, and loving unselfishly pure.
My love should be more dog-like…that’s for sure.
Life is like a sandwich: birth is one slice and death is the other.
What we put in-between is up to us.—Allan Rufus